Career Decisions for the Transition

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  • Tue, Sep 20, 2011 - 10:45pm

    #1
    Bananacarrot

    Bananacarrot

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    Career Decisions for the Transition

 I am new to this and don’t typically post to forums so I don’t know if this is really an appropriate place for this kind of topic or not.  My question is of a fairly personal nature.  I am currently a doctoral student in psychology, and after learning from Chris Martenson and various other sources about the situation looming ahead – I have been experiencing a lot of stress and indecision regarding where to go from here.

The way I figure it, being a PhD level therapist is not exactly the most stable recession-proof kind of career.  Seems like it may be one of the earlier fields to begin to falter when the economy begins to crash etc. However, it is also incredibly difficult to justify dropping out and drastically changing my career plans at this juncture.  Continuing on feels incredibly pointless; dropping out and trying to develop a more useful skillset for the future feels incredibly daunting and perhaps extreme. (For instance – I know my family and friends would most likely think me crazy for doing so, not that that is a good reason for making the decision either way). 

Additionally, being a graduate student for several years, I have not accumulated much wealth to utilize.  My partner and I have some liquid funds between us, but not enough to feel like it would be practical to just go out and buy property to farm on. I want to start preparing, but I feel very stuck. Graduate school takes up so much time & energy that it feels like an either/or situation.  Finishing school, or focusing on the Transition. Maybe I can find a way to combine the two.

Bottomline – I know no one can tell me what decision is the "right" one for me, but I do wonder if other people have been faced with similarly difficult decisions and how you have gone about making your choices? Maybe you will have some helpful insights for me.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts, comments, and suggestions!

  • Wed, Sep 21, 2011 - 03:27am

    #2
    BSV

    BSV

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    Career decisions for the transition

Do not despair, Molrae07. While nobody can predict the future with any great confidence, it seems a reasonable bet that doctoral level psychologists will be in demand. I have a little insight into this topic since my daughter is a licensed clinical psychologist who is employed in a forensics role by the federal government. One key point, it seems to me, is whether you have saddled yourself with a lot of student loan debt. If not, I think you can probably relax a bit and not worry excessively about the future. Society is not likely to collapse, though cracks in the facade are emerging. The unemployment figures for the highly educated are not all that worrisome so far. At the same time, it is wise to prepare and on this site you will find many useful suggestions along those lines. It is important not to become overwhelmed at the outset. Just take it a step at a time and remember the old saying that Rome was not built in a day.

You might consider looking into seeking employment with the Veteran’s Administration or with the Army. For many years to come, military vets will need psychological counseling. That’s just one among many possibilities. These days clinical psychologists have taken over much if not most of the counseling role that psychiatrists once handled. Psychiatrists generally prescribe the medications while psychologists do the counseling.

Dropping out now is probably not a good idea. What can you do with a batchelor’s degree in psychology? It is about as useful, career-wise, as a degree in English or Anthropology. I’m not knocking those fields at all, but the grim reality is that demand for those graduates is rather modest these days. It takes a doctorate in psychology plus passing the fairly rigorous licensing exam to be qualified for the good jobs in the field.

So I encourage you to stay the course and finish your doctorate. Keep your sense of humor while you are at it. We live in a screwed up world and people need help dealing with it. That’s your chosen field.

Welcome, by the way. This is a relatively civilized place in the sense that constructive comments are welcomed and flaming is strongly discouraged. I’m one who rarely ever posts, partly from lack of time and also because I tend to scan the site daily, focus on what interests me and then move on. Your post caught my interest. Hang in there and keep your sense of humor. I think you’ll be okay and I wish you well.

  • Wed, Sep 21, 2011 - 04:21am

    #3
    dingalls

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    I can relate

I can relate to your feelings, although for very different reasons.  I am a mother of two small children.  I simply do not have the time to spend on preparing for the transition that I would like to have, so I have had to prioritize my time and my energy.  While reviewing what I have done, keep in mind that I do feel pretty clear in my commitment to living a "lifestyle of transition" as I like to call it.  It really has to do with a change in outlook, from "all things will continue to be and look the way that I see now" to "things will most likely look and be very different from what I see now".  That was the most dramatic time for me, when I was really becomming clear about that.  I remember walking around or even worse, driving around, feeling such a strange sense that things were going to shift and not really being clear about how.  I felt a profound sense of disorientation at that time, and it was overwhelming to think of all the things I wish I could do before the changes really started.  

Well, some time has passed and I do not feel that same way any longer, or maybe I have just gotten used to it.  I think making a mental transition is a factor in not being caught off guard when things do start to come unraveled.  That is what I tell myself, anyhow, when I am feeling like I am not doing enough.

So back to what I have focused on:

lifestyle changes, trying to be live as close to the earth as possilbe 

some inflation protection, not a lot, but some

some cash in my hands, as above

some food and water provisions, including short term (easier) and long term stores

networking with our local Transition organization and befriending immediate neighbors

staying informed about recent events, what to make of them, etc (thanks to cm.com mostly and some others)

taking care of health matters, including dental work that needs to be done

Of course I have not really addressed your question about your graduate work/career path.  I think that the fact that you are a student is extremely fortunate, regardless of what you are studying.  I would suggest that you keep your life outwardly as simple as possible so you can be quietly and privately preparing for transition.

Good luck!

  • Wed, Sep 21, 2011 - 11:01am

    #4
    ao

    ao

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    BSV wrote:Do not despair,

[quote=BSV]

Do not despair, Molrae07. While nobody can predict the future with any great confidence, it seems a reasonable bet that doctoral level psychologists will be in demand. I have a little insight into this topic since my daughter is a licensed clinical psychologist who is employed in a forensics role by the federal government. One key point, it seems to me, is whether you have saddled yourself with a lot of student loan debt. If not, I think you can probably relax a bit and not worry excessively about the future. Society is not likely to collapse, though cracks in the facade are emerging. The unemployment figures for the highly educated are not all that worrisome so far. At the same time, it is wise to prepare and on this site you will find many useful suggestions along those lines. It is important not to become overwhelmed at the outset. Just take it a step at a time and remember the old saying that Rome was not built in a day.

You might consider looking into seeking employment with the Veteran’s Administration or with the Army. For many years to come, military vets will need psychological counseling. That’s just one among many possibilities. These days clinical psychologists have taken over much if not most of the counseling role that psychiatrists once handled. Psychiatrists generally prescribe the medications while psychologists do the counseling.

Dropping out now is probably not a good idea. What can you do with a batchelor’s degree in psychology? It is about as useful, career-wise, as a degree in English or Anthropology. I’m not knocking those fields at all, but the grim reality is that demand for those graduates is rather modest these days. It takes a doctorate in psychology plus passing the fairly rigorous licensing exam to be qualified for the good jobs in the field.

So I encourage you to stay the course and finish your doctorate. Keep your sense of humor while you are at it. We live in a screwed up world and people need help dealing with it. That’s your chosen field.

Welcome, by the way. This is a relatively civilized place in the sense that constructive comments are welcomed and flaming is strongly discouraged. I’m one who rarely ever posts, partly from lack of time and also because I tend to scan the site daily, focus on what interests me and then move on. Your post caught my interest. Hang in there and keep your sense of humor. I think you’ll be okay and I wish you well.

[/quote]

Excellent advice.  I wanted to answer this post yesterday but didn’t have the time and then got sidetracked.  This answer is very much akin what I would have written.  Finish up the PhD, don’t worry about society immediately collapsing (because that probability is very small), and seek employment in the military/military related fields since there will be a need there and you can be of great help.

Oh yeah … also develop some side skills as a plumber.  It never hurts to hedge your bets.;-)

  • Wed, Sep 21, 2011 - 11:21am

    #5

    Wendy S. Delmater

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    welcome molrae07

There is more good news: you’re young, and a younger person’s wages tend to keep up better with inlation. Meanwhile the inflation will whittle away at the real value of your college debt.

  • Wed, Sep 21, 2011 - 04:05pm

    #6
    Bananacarrot

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    Thank you for the replies

Thank you for the replies thus far.  I really appreciate hearing all of your thoughts about this!

One thing that I thought I should clarify is that I already have my master’s degree.  So while I agree that a career in this field with a bachelors is not feasible, becoming a licensed professional counselor with a master’s degree is a feasible alternative to going all the way to my PhD. 

What concerns me is that if I spend the next two years grinding through my doctoral program, that is precious time that I could have been spending making more money and becoming more established and prepared.  In addition, I’m also concerned that ultimately down the road earning the doctorate won’t end up being time well spent due to the instability of our economy (really my only motivations for a doctorate above a master’s is higher income and I’m just not convinced that this will be a continued benefit of the higher degree for much longer).  I agree that the miltary jobs may last, but I have very little desire to work in that type of setting (and it will become quickly saturated if psychologists in other settings cannot find work). My plan has been to join or start a private practice. This is possible with either degree…

Really, it’s a gamble either way. Staying in the program I am worried that I’m wasting valuable time and am therefore having trouble continuing to feel motivated.  If I quit I’d be afraid that I passed up a potential opportunity for a more lucrative career. I guess I just need to decide which source of stress I feel more comfortable accepting…

Thanks again for the comments so far!

  • Wed, Sep 21, 2011 - 06:22pm

    #7
    hucklejohn

    hucklejohn

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    Check out

Check out http://www.garynorth.com/public/10.cfm

Some material is free. Some material requires payment of a monthly subscription to join a forum.  Lots of topics.  My reason for mentioning it is that Gary North includes many articles related to self-improvement, writing, careers & practical tips for entrepreneurs & ways to produce income streams.  Gary understands where the economy is headed (downward) & genuinely wants to help the younger generation through this difficult period coming up.  Mostly a conservative point of view (which I agree with). Dedicated to the Austian School of Economics.  Gary does not think too highly of today’s system of "higher" education.   Anyway worth checking out regardless of your politics.

  • Wed, Sep 21, 2011 - 09:55pm

    #8
    Bananacarrot

    Bananacarrot

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    Thanks – I’ll definitely

Thanks – I’ll definitely look into that!

  • Thu, Sep 22, 2011 - 02:30pm

    #9

    RNcarl

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    If you have started – finish

My advice is simple,

My story is not.

In 1973 all I wanted to do was fly jets. The oil embargo put doubt into continued supply of oil. Some were even predicting the "end" of air travel. By 1977 (my high school graduation year – yes I am old) I had all but given up my dream of becoming a pilot because of the turmoil in the economy concerning fuel and it’s related costs.

If I would have "stayed the course" I would most likely now be retired and would have enjoyed a fulfilling life long dream career.

Now, having taken a different path – I have no regrets because my journey has given me a loving family and children.

But, my experience has shown me to believe in the old adage, "Do what you love to do and the money will follow and you will never ‘work’ a day in your life."

Coaching, mentoring, leading, persuading, team building – those will be the most important traits to have during the transition. Helping others to cope with the profound change will also be needed.

Lastly, have you started your program and how far along are you? I have a different take on education (true learning) than others. They can take your money, your house and you car, but they can never take from you that which you have learned.

Good Luck!!!

 

  • Sat, Sep 24, 2011 - 08:08am

    #10

    thatchmo

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    “I have never let my

"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education"    Mark Twain.   Smart guy.  And funny, too.  Aloha,Steve

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